Getting in shape or simply becoming healthier in general can take a lot of hard work and dedication. A fit body doesn’t just happen; while some people may make it look effortless, for most people it’s a continuous challenge. But even so, the challenge of getting (or staying) in shape doesn’t have to be unpleasant—you can make it fun based on your own unique lifestyle and fitness goals.
When you think about setting goals to lose weight, build more lean muscle mass, or live a more active lifestyle, you likely think about the end result—where you’d like to be eventually. While it’s great to have that end result or goal in mind, you also need to consider the small changes you can make gradually along the way.
Read on for some of the small changes that can make a huge difference in your fitness.
Changes to Your Diet
With all the superfood trends and fad diets out there, it can be tempting to try one or jump between different diet plans to figure out which one, if any, can help you achieve the results you’re seeking. But trying to make too drastic of a change to your diet can sometimes backfire.
While you may have the mindset of strictly adhering to your new diet plan, and may actually accomplish it for a little while, strict diet plans are simply not sustainable choices. A lot of times, fad diets or too many diet restrictions can work initially in getting results, but eventually you end up craving your favorite foods and gradually you begin falling back into your previous eating habits.
Instead of jumping on the latest diet trend, it’s a better idea to make small changes to your diet. Start by adding a few new nutritious foods to your shopping list, to fuel your body. See how you like them and how you feel afterward. Try making healthy substitutions when snacking as well–if you tend to reach for potato chips to satisfy a salty, crunchy craving, substitute similar flavors and textures with homemade sweet potato chips, sliced apples with peanut butter, or trail mix with mixed nuts, seeds, and raisins.
Think about the meals you’re eating—both the frequency and the amount of food—and identify where you can cut down slightly on portion size or make a healthier substitution. Also consider your snacking habits. It’s not necessarily bad to snack, but if you’re mindlessly eating high-calorie snacks that aren’t very nutritious, your fitness goals could suffer.
It’s also important to consider your gut health. Since a healthy gut contains good bacteria and immune cells that fight harmful bacteria and viruses, it’s important to reinforce nutritional eating choices to keep you healthy starting from the inside. Betr Health, a partner of EōS Fitness, has been helping Members restore wellness through their sustainable program.
As with changes to your diet, small lifestyle changes can also add up toward improving your overall health and fitness. If you’re trying to get back into a workout routine after a break from the gym or from physical activity in general, start by setting reasonable, achievable goals to help ease back into it instead of trying to go from zero to multiple hours in the gym each day.
If you’ve grown accustomed to a more sedentary lifestyle through working at a desk all day or for any other reason, committing to going to the gym every day can seem like a big hurdle at first. A logical goal would first be to get more steps each day, which you could work on by taking the stairs more often, parking your car farther away from your destination, or working a quick walk into your lunch break.
Lifestyle changes can add up, even if it seems like taking an extra flight of stairs may not matter. Keep making those small changes, and eventually you’ll start seeing the results of your efforts.
Changes to Your Workout Routine
Perhaps you’ve already been exercising regularly and just aren’t seeing the desired results. Whether this is the case or you’re trying to start your workout routine from scratch, you can make small changes to your exercise routine to make a huge difference in your fitness.
- Try yoga. Cardio lovers and weightlifters alike can benefit from a little extra stretching along with a focus on breathing. Benefits of yoga include better sleep and flexibility, decreased stress and anxiety, improved strength, and can help prevent certain health problems.
- Add strength training. If the free weights have always seemed intimidating or you’re not sure how to incorporate them into your workout routine, try a few of the strength training machines first to get a feel for weightlifting. Machines are an excellent way to stay safe and learn some basic weightlifting exercises. After you’ve gotten comfortable, you can expand to free weights starting with low reps and lighter weight, working up to higher reps, heavier weight, or circuits as you get stronger.
- Swim a few laps. If you’ve only used the pool for summer fun with the family or to relax in the sun, give lap swimming a try. Swimming is a great cardio workout and is easy on the joints. Plus, practically anyone can do it, whether you’re a fitness beginner or have limited mobility.
- Jump on the bike. Cycling is an excellent workout for beginners and offers a ton of variety. Start with shorter cycling workouts in the 10 to 20-minute range and work your way up to a 30-minute or 60-minute cycling class. You’ll burn serious calories and feel wonderful both physically and mentally. Plus, you’ll be avoiding the heat outside and any potential dangers of riding on the open road.
- Try all the cardio. The cardio machines like the stair climber, elliptical, treadmill, and recumbent bikes are all great for your cardiovascular health, and they’re a perfect way to ease back into a workout routine or make a small change to what you’re already doing.
Small changes in your fitness are easy to accomplish when you make an effort to add variety to your workouts. Trying something new to shift the focus between muscle groups or work a different part of your body can help keep your goals on track while providing new challenges.
Start Small and Work Hard
Getting in shape or improving your health can be an intimidating goal but remember that small changes make a huge difference. You can’t go from zero exercise to a bodybuilder’s physique; it takes hard work and time. With your fitness goals in mind, set small, achievable goals along the way so you can feel great accomplishing them while continuing to challenge yourself more and more.
If you need more guidance on how to make small changes to your current workout routine or how to get back into a regular schedule, speak to a Personal Trainer at EōS. New Members receive a Complimentary Welcome Workout to jump start your fitness goals.